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Let me tell you a little about your dad as I knew him. He was always Johnny to me, my younger cousin. Though he was younger by 3 years, I always looked up to him with pride and little bit of healthy envy. He was a role model. I wanted to be more like him.
As kids we always had a great time. We knew how to make each other laugh. We played video games, backyard sports, went roller skating and ate lots of cake. Our birthdays were only a day apart, you see. And his dad (your grandfather), had his own boat! Some of my greatest memories we going out on Uncle Danny’s boat with my cousin Johnny. We found an octopus once in one of Uncle Danny’s traps.
I was there when Johnny graduated college. Uncle Danny made him a plaque that said “John Harriman, Marine Biologist”. And Johnny got his own boat, and got to be the Captain. I remember thinking “There goes the luckiest guy in the world.” I got to work with Johnny on his boat for a couple of days, and be his helper as we pulled up lots of lobster traps. I knew then that what Johnny had was much more than luck. He was a talented fisherman and leader. He ran his crew like a true captain. He was a master of Casco Bay. His strength on the water will always be an inspiration to me as I attempt to command my own life.
Johnny also had strong faith. When my dad died, Johnny, Uncle Danny, and Aunt Annette became a second family to me. They took great care of me in my time of sadness. They brought me to their very friendly church in Cape Elizabeth. I was surprised to see my cousin Johnny singing and playing his saxophone in the church choir. What a great voice he had! The Harriman family really helped me see the importance of faith and community. I am forever grateful for that.
It has been less than a day since I learned that Johnny is gone. At this point I cannot imagine this world without him. I do know that it will be terribly difficult for me, and for many other people, to continue on. I know that we need to be as strong as Johnny was at the helm of his boat, the Antoinette Marie, and that we’ll need to pray a lot like Johnny did, and that we’ll need to lean on our community, our friends, and our families.
Lilliana, I look forward to visiting you often as you grow up, and I’ll always remind how awesome your dad was.
Your Cousin Rocky